The Bahamas welcomed 23,398 visitors during the month of July when the country first reopened its borders, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Tourism.
Although this was a stark increase in visitor arrivals compared to prior months that saw much lower numbers, it pales in comparison to the 650,353 visitors that travelled to The Bahamas in July 2019.
The numbers also demonstrate that tourism was sluggishly returning prior to the second border closure in July, where commercial airlines were briefly prohibited from bringing visitors into the country.
Broken down by port of entry, air arrivals amounted to 14,970 visitors while sea arrivals totaled 8,428.
The data reflect the severe contraction in tourism as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused global travel restrictions, the Central Bank of The Bahamas said in its just released Monthly Economic and Financial Development (MEFD) report for the month of August.
“The latest data provided by the Nassau Airport Development Company Limited (NAD) revealed that total international departures stood at 2,139 during the month of August, relative to a seasonal growth of 12.1 percent to 169,045 in the preceding year.
“On a year-to-date basis, outward-bound traffic declined by 68.5 percent, a turnaround from a 17 percent expansion during the comparable period of 2019,” the report stated.
“By destination, the US component reduced by 69.7 percent, a reversal from an 18.4 percent increase in the prior year. Similarly, the non-US international component fell by 60.8 percent vis-à-vis a gain of 8.3 percent a year ago.”
On the Family Islands, there were 13,645 visitors during the review period, with Grand Bahama in particular seeing just 1,854 visitor arrivals.
Even with major hotels shuttered, the vacation rental market also saw significant declines with data provided by AirDNA for the month of August showing a contraction in room nights sold of 70. 5 percent compared to the same period last year.
“Pricing indicators varied, with the average daily room rate (ADR) for entire place listings firming by 4 percent to $407.99, while the ADR for hotel comparable listings fell by 6.9 percent to $141.87,” the report noted.
“On a year-to-date basis, total room nights sold declined by 45.3 percent, attributed to respective reductions in bookings for both the entire place and hotel comparable components, of 46.6 percent and 33 percent.”
On the other hand, pricing indicator outcomes showed that while average daily rate for hotel comparable listings decreased by 2.5 percent to $152.83, the ADR for entire place listings rose by 2.4 percent to $411.96.